The history of plumbing goes back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, Indian, Roman, Greek, and Persian civilizations all had versions of piped water – and plumbing that removed waste from structures. John Harington provided a flush toilet to Queen Elizabeth 1 and the world has never looked back.
Today we take for granted the modern conveniences of not only the sanitation that is provided by bathroom fittings such as the toilet – but also the convenience of sinks and the ability of the humble plughole to whisk away our used water (of course showers and baths are included here) and make our life simply that much easier.
However, even the most advanced of pipelines and the associated sinks will become blocked at some point – it is simply inevitable. Our sinks dispose of the water that we use – but there are also other substances that find their way down the sink. Dirt and organic matter such as skin flakes and hair, as well as the soap scum that can bind all these additional substances together, can cause a blocked drain.
It’s unlikely that your blocked household drain will become as much as an issue as that faced by municipal workers active in sewers. Fatbergs are a solid mass of wet wipes, nappies, fat, and oil that can block sewers – and one over 820 feet long and weighing in at 130 tones was discovered in the sewers of Whitechapel, London, UK. That took some shifting.
Thankfully, homeowners will find clearing sinks and drains a lot less of a challenge than dealing with that monster – and the good news is that there are entirely natural ways of dealing with blockages. this will make those who want a less environmentally damaging option to unblocking a sink – rather than relying on the use of chemicals that can damage the natural environment.
If you are faced with a blocked sink, then here are five methods that can help to get your water and waste flowing freely again.
The first option is probably one of the simplest. Mix some hot water and dish soap together and simply pour in down the sink. This may take a couple of tries, but the hot water will melt any grease clogs and the soap will help to dissolve them. This method provides a ‘green’ solution if one chooses an environmentally friendly dish soap. It may not work for some types of blockages such as those that are a result of tangled hair.
Option number two results in no residue exiting the house – aside from the substances that have caused the offending blockage. This method is a homemade version of the plumber’s ‘snake’. Take a metal/wire coat hanger and straighten it out but leave a ‘hook’ at the end. Probe the blockage and gently pull the mass out of the plughole. This is especially useful when the blockage is caused by semi-solids such as hair or congealed greasy foods or organic matter. Once you have removed as much of the blockage as you can use the detergent and hot water method to ensure that the blockage has been removed completely.
One of the oldest remedies for a blocked sink comes in at position number five. That is mixing baking soda and vinegar and pouring it down the sink (is there nothing that baking soda cannot do?). First, pour half a cup of baking soda down the sink and then follow up with the vinegar (about a cup to a cup and a half should do the trick). The let it simmer for half an hour. Once this time has elapsed then pour boiling water down the sink until the blockage is clear, stand well back as the fumes can be unpleasant.
The fourth approach is to use the cleaning power of salt (quarter cup), borax (quarter cup) and vinegar (half a cup). Pour this mixture down the sink and let it sit for about an hour. Then follow up with boiling water. Once the blockage has been cleared allow the hot water from the sink tap to run for about 3 minutes to make sure that all traces of the blockage have been washed away.
Finally, there is the simple approach of using baking soda and salt. Mix the two ingredients together (a half-cup each is ideal) and pour that down the sink. Allow this to percolate overnight. Finally pour in boiling water and the blockage should be gone.
Bonus: Use a plunger to make sure that stubborn blockages can be shifted completely or loosened prior to employing one of the above strategies.
Using natural ingredients is far better than employing synthetics. Often it is the cheaper solution – and it is far kinder to the environment. If that stubborn blockage remains after all these approaches have been exhausted, then call in a professional – this is not a problem that will simply resolve itself.